Kingdoms of Amalur studio lays off entire workforce
Things took a downward turn for the Kingdoms of Amalur studio this month when they failed to make a big repayment to the state of Rhode Island. They soon managed to foot the bill, but missed payroll and lost their CEO shortly after. Now Gamasutra report that everyone at 38 Studios and Big Huge Games has been laid off with this email.
"The Company is experiencing an economic downturn. To avoid further losses and possibility of retrenchment, the Company has decided that a companywide lay off is absolutely necessary.
These layoffs are non-voluntary and non-disciplinary.
This is your official notice of lay off, effective today, Thursday, May 24th, 2012."
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee said later in a press conference that 38 Studios collapsed because Kingdoms of Amalur "failed," stating that the studio needed to sell 3 million copies to break even. Chafee and a number of state officials grilled studio founder Curt Schilling on the state of his company at the start of the month when they failed to make a payment of $1.125 million to the state of Rhode Island. The state approved a loan program worth $75 million for 38 Studios back in 2010.
Schilling countered suggestions that Amalur failed on Twitter, saying that Reckoning "outperformed EA's projections by selling 1.2mm copies in its first 90 days." The studio wasn't just working on Amalur, however. Gama cite WPRI figures suggesting that the studio had at least 379 full time workers, many of whom were likely working on 38 Studio's ethereal MMO, Project Copernicus, which was slated for June next year.
A group of state lawmakers passed a resolution yesterday demanding that the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and Governer Chafee "immediately release all records related to 38 Studios’ financial situation and its $75 million loan guarantee” as questions arise as to how such a large state loan was offered to an unproven studio.
As the political fallout rumbles on, hundreds of former 38 Studios developers search for work. A #38jobs Twitter hashtag has been set up to help laid off workers find new positions and The International Game Developers Association have set up an advice page for those affected by the 38 Studios collapse and recent layoffs at Bioware Austin. Best of luck to all those affected.